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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

i believe in miracles

after work i went to meet a friend for drinks and dinner. this song came on in the bar we were in. i can't remember the last time i heard it while i was out and about. you can't help but groove to it, especially after a full on work day. happy wednesday everyone. 


Monday, 27 August 2012

taking the air

this morning i woke to the sound of the wind in the trees. i have been cooped up in my house for the last two days. it has been self inflicted and necessary but this morning the urge to get out and into that fresh air was overwhelming. knowing that rain was forecast i got myself up and out. wrapping a scarf around still swollen glands i reasoned a walk in the fresh air would do me good. it did.  

i grew up two minutes walk away from a local park. not any old local park, a park with an old tudor hall in it. i haven't been to bramhall park for quite a while. some things have changed, others are exactly the same. taking the air this bank holiday morning memories came flooding back. the first boy i fell in love with lived the other side of this park. we used to meet in the park when he walked his dog, we sat at the same bench while his dog ran around. looking at it this morning i smiled at the memory long since resigned to the back reaches of my mind. walking in front of the hall i realised that hedges have been allowed to grow over tops of walls. walls that i remember balancing on as a child. walls i remember photographing my best friend standing on beneath a giant tree; the tree is even larger over twenty years on. walking through the flat open space in front of the hall i remembered christmases gone by where my family and family friends would meet on boxing day morning to play a huge game of football. this was the dads domain. the object of the game not just to win but to make sure you didn't kick the ball too much to the right where there was a steep hill leading down to a pond. it always happened, usually more than once and each time there would be a groan and whoever had kicked it was dispatched to go and fetch it. it was a great way of letting the kids run off steam and gave the mums a chance to catch up with themselves from the previous day. the most recent memories involve my mum. she got remarried in the hall ten years ago this year. wandering around it i stopped at the door we took the wedding photos in front of. i smiled at the memory and reflected on what has happened since; we are all in different places now. 

today i noticed that it is not just my memories that are around the park. yes, the house tells the story of hundreds of years. you can take the guided tour and discover the history. but today i noticed the park benches. the stories of the ordinary people. reading the names i knew only one, a local mp who died of breast cancer while in office, she was a heroic lady. it made me wonder who the other people were. how did pam light up their lives? what breed was jimmy, walter's dog? did bessie hughes walk around the park often? it was good to think and remember. it was good to walk and be outside. i am grateful for my health and my happiness. i am thankful for my friends and family. i am glad i made it home before the rain.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

slowing down, reluctantly.

this week i have mainly been ignoring my body telling me to slow down. by wednesday i was wrapped up in a winter fleece whilst everyone else was short sleeved for the 20+ degree weather. i called it a day. thursday i was back in the saddle and friday brought a trip to york to visit a friend. when i awoke on saturday morning most of me ached. there was nothing for it. saturday was a duvet day. a comfy spot was found on the sofa, comfort food was made and eaten, tv offered film after film. heat giving way to rain of the thunder and lighting variety made the whole experience feel guilt free.  i'm not always good at stopping, responsibilities crowd in and can sometimes feel weighted. other times i can see the value of spending time on myself. this week i carried on and didn't realise my aching body was objecting, it still is. good job it's a long weekend. i'm off to make banana on toast and a cup of tea and find a spot on the sofa again. maybe today i will have the concentration to start reading the book jane sent me last week.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

snapshot of last week

as ever last week was busy. family were here. a day off spent with nieces and nephews. tending to family, friends and plants. observing ever changing skies. oh, and washing. lots of washing.


Sunday, 19 August 2012


i heard this song on the radio on friday morning. it's sunday morning. i'm still singing it. classic. enjoy.


Friday, 17 August 2012

when dreams come true

over the past few weeks i have been pondering what happens when your dreams come true. 

this thought process was triggered by watching the olympic coverage. mo farrah won gold in the 10,000 meters and the following day, listening to presenters reliving the moment, john inverdale asked denise lewis of winning a gold medal "how long does it take to sink in?" to which she replied "seven weeks". not six weeks or two months but seven weeks. that was obviously her experience and very specific it was too. as team gb became more and more successful, more and more peoples dreams were coming true. i found myself wondering how do these people feel at achieving all they set out to? 

as jane wrote we found out what it took to get them there. the dedication, commitment and determination. long hours training, honing their skills. preparation required both physically and mentally. they did what they believed would give them the best chance to win. in the case of mo farrah he moved his family to america to train with a new coach. but what happens when your dreams come true by luck? the uk has it's second euro millions winner this year. a couple from suffolk scooped the £148 million jackpot last week. they didn't work or train for their dreams to come true, they bought a ticket and entered a draw. i am sure that you like i had conversations with friends and colleagues about what you would buy first if you had that kind of money. 

i can't help but think that having your dreams come true either makes or breaks you. that may sound strange. after all you could have been working all your life to achieve it. i wonder if the key to having your dreams come true is in the journey. the life journey. if you won £148 million on the lottery would you still go to work the next day? would you give money to family, friends, charities or would you keep it all for yourself? i would think that each athlete however young they are in their career will have an idea of what they would do after they achieved their goal. would they continue or retire, would they give back and coach or would they retrain to become presenters of the sports they excelled in? 

i think the person you are shapes how you live. your parents instill values from a young age, as you mature you take those on board and add and subtract your own ideals or beliefs. you either work hard to get where you want or you sit back and expect life to come to you. you can choose to be positive or negative. choose to embrace life with it's richness of troubles and rewards. i work in an industry that traditionally is one of the first to go in a recession and is one of the last to come back. over the last four years i have worked closely alongside a core team of people to ensure our companys survival. it has not always been easy. in fact, some days it has been downright hard but i have learnt more about myself and my values in the struggles these past few years than i have during any period of flying high. the journey is not over as we are still in the grip of the longest and hardest worldwide recession seen to date. but for us there is light at the end of the tunnel. there is a goal and it is approaching. never again will we work the same way, never again will laurels be rested on as they were and never again will business dictate life the way it did. 

i have learnt that what you spend your daily life doing does not define you. you have to work hard at what you do outside of that daily grind. you can't expect your life to be full and rounded unless you try and make it so. there needs to be a life balance. an embracing of the emotional as well as the mental and physical. they feed into each other. look at mo farrah again, he is at the pinnacle of his career becoming a double gold medal winner this month but his wife tania is due to give birth to twin girls any day now. he has not just worked at his career goal he has worked at his family goal too. it is not one sided, it is rounded. i wonder if in the face of this life change it will take mo seven weeks for his sporting achievement to sink in or if it might take a little longer. 

when pondering what i would do if i won £148 million i realised i would still go to work the next day. would i continue working for the same company? maybe not. but with the comfort of millions in the bank i could choose what format that working would take. i would give to family and friends; giving them the chance to make life choices free from immediate financial worry. success in whatever form gives you options.  but perhaps the most successful option is remembering what got you there in the first place.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012


This week is a strange week, as both my children are away all week. I suddenly find myself having far less to do. The house is tidier, the washing baskets are not full, and I can stay at work guilt free past 5.
Yet, most of all it's the quiet that I notice. The garden seems empty after all the kids that have been visiting over the summer, the trampoline is empty.
My challenge is to embrace the quiet, the space and not fill it with clutter just so there is no silence. One day I will learn that space does not mean work harder, enjoy the morning coffee in peace and wait for the noisy return.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Plans fulfilled

Well, the olympics officially closed last night, with the flame being extinguished. It has defined the last two weeks, as everyone has talked, watched, screamed at the tv, cried and talked some more.

One common theme that all the athletes have spoken about in their interviews is how much work over such a long period of time they have put into training, preparation and being ready to compete. On Saturday I listened to an interview with the GB Women's Hockey coach. He spoke of how the olympics had been the end of something they had planned for over seven and a half years, and the stages that they had gone through along that journey.
As I sat and listened I reeled. I cannot ever imagine working and planning for something for seven and a half years. I struggle to plan what I am going to do in a months time, and certainly do not have goals for the different areas of my life of where I want to be in the next 4-7 years.
I am awe struck at the dedication, the focus, the perseverance. I get frustrated if plans aren't realised quickly, I want the instant success.
The Olympics showed those people who have worked for longer term success. Seb Coe talked of planning for the last 12 years to make the Olympics all it has been.
I am humbled, and challenged by what I have witnessed, and want to learn some of that tenacity, focus and perseverance, rather than wanting it all now.
The joy we had the privilege to witness was of plans fulfilled, and their days had been about working for that dream.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

first steps

jane wrote a fantastic post about her experience at london 2012. i have been an armchair supporter for the duration; following friends and family's experiences through photographs on facebook and twitter. i work with sports obsessed men. the tv in our reception has been tuned to the olympic coverage for the duration of the working day. as the commentators excitement increases, so too does the speed and volume of their voice. this is your cue to get up from your various offices and congregate in front of the tv to find out which member of team gb has secured what colour medal or who has missed out sometimes just by a whisker. the other sound that has been ever present is the theme tune. elbow were commissioned by the bbc to write the theme tune for their olympic coverage.  this is elbow and passion pictures talking about the making of and the inspiration behind the music and the animation for the tv coverage.

if you want to listen to the full track go here. if you want to read further about the inspiration go here. elbow have now made the piece available for download with all proceeds going to children in need, you can find more details here


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympic emotion

Ten days ago as you will have seen from Em's last post the olympics started. It began on a Friday morning, marked by the ringing of bells, bells that did not stop ringing for three minutes.

I was getting ready for work at the time, and was watching with interest. As I watched something stirred inside me, the sound of the bells ringing and knowing it was happening all round the country felt  historic, unifying and moving. I felt a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and was taken a back by my response to the start of the games.

In the evening we watched the opening ceremony with friends. Banners were made.

The ceremony was amazing, inspiring, clever and funny, but most of all showed off all the good things we can do as a country.

By the end of the weekend I, like most of Britain had spent the weekend watching the tv, completely engulfed in the events, and so it continued all week. Last Saturday morning tired by the week I sat down to watch the rowing, and at midday ended with tears flowing down by face - brought on by seeing the joy of victory and the despair of defeat within the space of half an hour.

Yesterday, we were privileged to be able to go to the Olympic park, with a stop en-route to see the olympic rings.

It was all it promised to be. Excitement, atmosphere, it did not disappoint - it was even better in reality, to see and be part of another moment in history.

As night fell the lights dominated the sky line.

We wandered home tired but exhilarated by all we had seen. The games have provided a theatre in which we have watched the hard work of four years for those taking part ending sometimes in pain, many times in joy. The bells ringing last week were just the start of that emotional journey.


Sunday, 5 August 2012


this week has been chilled. it has mainly involved working and watching the olympics. sport unites. this week has certainly united our country through sport and i have only watched it through a television screen, i can only imagine how friends and family have felt being there in person. last night i was babysitting. my nieces stayed up late to watch jessica ennis win gold. having studied her in school they were really excited to see her fulfill her potential, as was i. it was indeed a super saturday with both Greg Rutherford & Mo Farrah also winning gold in the olympic stadium. it is inspiring to see how these individuals believe and expect the best outcome. they give their all with positivity. the joy and surprise at winning as was the case with katherine copeland was infectious. there is a lesson for all of us there. work hard, expect the best but don't ever take anything for granted. i'm off to watch andy murray hopefully add more than a silver medal to our countries medal tally.